Ivory Coast’s tourism share of GDP falls from 7.3% in 2019 to 1.8%, says minister


JEDDAH: Ivory Coast is planning to mobilize 2,000 billion West African CFA francs ($4 billion) to revive its beleaguered tourism industry, which has witnessed a decline of 73 percent in its business activity in the tourism industry during the first year of the pandemic followed by a current decline of 63 percent, said its Minister of Tourism and Recreation Siandou Fofana.

Speaking to Arab News en Français on the sidelines of the 116th Executive Council meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization, Fofana said that tourism’s contribution to the gross domestic product declined from 7.3 percent in 2019 to 1.8 percent in 2022. The sector currently offers over 750,000 jobs.

“Ivory Coast has launched the Sublime Côte d’Ivoire recovery plan that will create an additional 450,000 jobs in the tourism sector, half of which will hold qualified positions,” said Fofana, who also holds the position of the chair of the Executive Council of UNWTO.

Echoing the council, he noted that “tourism is united to face future challenges.” He further emphasized the need to improve planning and policymaking as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In view of the pandemic, we must embark on the path of responsible tourism by integrating new criteria, including a sanitary framework. This type of criteria must be considered in the definition of major projects so that there is a better recovery of activity for our countries,” said Fofana.

Several topics were discussed during this meeting, including how to boost the sector’s activity and align good governance with the development needs of the industry.

“Efforts must be made by all to optimize and coordinate actions to move forward,” he added.

The UNWTO meet also saw Saudi Arabia and Spain playing a pivotal role in strengthening global tourism as both countries continue to share strong business relationships.

“Saudi Arabia is among the 30 most visited countries in the world. It is instantly noticeable with all the hotels and infrastructure that the country has developed. Whatever the Kingdom has managed to achieve is beautiful,” Fofana said.

Led under the leadership of Fofana, the 116th session was the largest meeting of the Executive Council since the start of the pandemic, with more than 200 participants and 32 countries represented.

It also marks the beginning of a new era where tourism is expected to become more sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

The next UNWTO meeting will continue on its African safari and will be in Marrakech, Morocco.

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